ADT Security vs. Vivint Smart Home

We talked to Vivint and ADT reps and combed through the fine print to compare these security giants. Most of the time, Vivint is #1.
Winner
Vivint
Vivint
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.75
Starting from
$29.99/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Emphasis on smart home
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Month-to-month contract options*
  • Icon Pros  Light
    App included with every plan
Runner up
Starting from
$27.99/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    140+ years of security experience
  • Icon Pros  Light
    3-year contract minimum
  • Icon Pros  Light
    App included with upgrade

Data as of 3/26/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Month-to-month plan options are available for customers who pay for the starter equipment up front.

Vivint home security and ADT are both professionally installed and monitored, but Vivint’s approach to contracts and innovative equipment puts it lightyears ahead of ADT.

Vivint’s smart home and home security equipment are designed in-house so the company can distribute new and innovative products. Both companies offer equipment for home automation and security, but you get more for your money with Vivint Smart Home.

Learn more as we put Vivint Smart Home and ADT head to head on prices, equipment, policies and more in this review.

Pros and cons

Vivint

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Option for month-to-month contract
Pro Bullet App included with every plan
Pro Bullet Proprietary security and smart home equipment
Pro Bullet Equipment for purchase
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet High overall costs
Con Bullet Customer service issues
Con Bullet Higher termination fees

ADT

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Strong reputation w/140 years of experience
Pro Bullet Nine monitoring centers
Pro Bullet Outstanding customer guarantees
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Long-term contracts
Con Bullet Upgrade required for app, life safety monitoring, smart home
Con Bullet Expensive monthly monitoring
Con Bullet Equipment for lease

Vivint and ADT top features

Vivint ADT
VivintSafeStreets
Lowest monitoring price

$29.99

$27.99

Installation fee

$99

$99–$199

Mobile app w/base plan
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Contract lengthMonth-to-month

3 years

Learn more

Info current as of 3/26/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.

Vivint and ADT similarities

Similarities between ADT and Vivint mostly have to do with its professional installation and monitoring services.

  • Professional installation: Both require professional installation and charge a fee for that service. Vivint charges a $49 flat fee. ADT installation costs start at $99 for security equipment and cameras then go up to $199 when you add smart home equipment.
  • Custom equipment packages: Neither has prepackaged equipment options. Instead, an installer will tell you during the security consultation what you need. With Vivint, you can pay for equipment up front or roll the cost into your monthly monitoring fee. ADT includes the price of leasing equipment in its monthly monitoring price.
  • Professional monitoring: When something triggers the alarm, a monitoring professional will contact police or emergency services for you. Vivint and ADT both offer monitoring for smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and video. ADT stands out with nine redundant monitoring centers and its longstanding experience.

Vivint vs. ADT differences

The most obvious differences between the two companies show up when you compare monitoring plans and contracts.

Monthly costs

Vivint and ADT both charge a premium but approach pricing differently. With Vivint, your monthly fee will be lower than it would be with ADT. And even Vivint's most basic packages include remote access to your security system through a mobile app plus a cellular connection, smoke and CO monitoring, and two-way voice features.

It will cost you if you want to avoid a contract—you can pay around $1,000 for equipment up front. But unlike ADT, you own your equipment outright so you’re not paying all that money for equipment you’ll have to give back later.

ADT has six monitored plans with all the essentials (like a $27.99 landline monitoring plan) and some add-ons to boot. Like Vivint, ADT offers live video, app control, and home automation, but you’ll pay $62.99 a month for these features and to lease your equipment.

Both companies charge a premium for video. Vivint’s video monitoring and storage plan starts at $44.99 for one camera. Each additional camera costs $5 more a month and tops out at six cameras or $69.99 a month. Still, ADT’s video plans start at $58.99 a month.

Here’s a look at the comparable packages with mobile app access from each brand. You can see all ADT plans in our full ADT review.

PlanVivint Package 1Vivint Package 2Vivint Package 3ADT Command Tier I Remote AccessADT Command Tier II Video SecurityADT Command Tier III Video Security + Home Automation
Starting price$29.99/mo.$39.99/mo.$44.99/mo.$36.99/mo.$58.99/mo.$62.99/mo.
Smart home integration
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Video monitoring
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Learn more

Info current as of 3/26/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Contracts

For those who can pay for their equipment up front, Vivint wins for contract flexibility. If you don't finance your Vivint equipment, you can pay for monitoring month by month, making it a great option if you don't want to be stuck with a long-term contract.

But keep in mind that if you do finance the equipment, you'll be locked into a monitoring contract that can last for 3.5 or 5 years, depending on how quickly you want to pay off your equipment.

No matter what kind of ADT system you choose, you'll have to sign a monitoring contract with ADT before your system is installed. Contracts last a minimum of three years, and you'll also have to pay for the cost of leasing the equipment up front.

Customer service and guarantees

ADT stands out from Vivint for its customer guarantees, more lenient cancellation policy, and around-the-clock customer service backed by more than 140 years of experience. Its good customer reviews and many loyal long-term customers are solid indications that ADT stands by its products.

Customer guarantees

ADT's six-month money-back guarantee means that if you decide you don't like your system or service, you can cancel it at any time within six months after you sign the contract (certain restrictions apply). ADT will refund any monitoring fees.

Cancellation terms

Nobody really wins for ADT or Vivint cancellation terms, though (including you). ADT charges 75% of the remaining contract terms for cancellations. That’s a little more generous than Vivint, which requires you pay back 100% of the remaining balance on your contract if you have one.

Equipment and smart home

It takes only one look at Vivint’s offerings to see that Vivint is all about smart home automation . The company earned top marks on the Best Home Security Systems and the Best Smart Home Security Systems because of its focus on making security smarter with clever features on its cutting-edge devices. And you get all that smart home integration from Vivint for less each month than you would with ADT.

Vivint devices all use Z-Wave technology so they're compatible with a wide variety of other smart products on the market, including Amazon Echo, Nest®, Google Home, and doorbell cameras.

Like Vivint, ADT offers home automation, but you’ll pay a bit more for these features. The equipment that comes with ADT's cellular plans are Z-Wave and Alexa compatible so you can control your system with your voice.

ADT Command bundle

Winner: Vivint beats out ADT

If you're looking for cheaper prices, flexible financing, and shorter contract options, Vivint comes out on top in this face-off.

  • Winner: Vivint provides proprietary smart devices with reliable monitoring for a lower price. With Vivint you'll own the equipment, pay less each month, and have the option to go contract-free.
  • Second place: We love ADT's strong reputation but it ultimately prices a lot of folks out. That said, if you're ready to settle into a long-term relationship with a company with a great track record, ADT might be the better choice.

Still undecided? Read our full Vivint and ADT reviews to learn more.

How we decided: Vivint vs. ADT

To determine which brand won out, we took everything we’ve learned visiting Vivint headquarters and an ADT technician training center and combined that with hours of research, reading terms and contracts, asking company reps questions, and hearing what real customers have to say. Learn more about how we review brands on our methodology page.

Related articles on SafeWise

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.
  • MaijaL

    VIVINT has terrible customer service. Looking to switch.

    • Elizabeth Rusk

      what happened